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Danica Patrick First Woman To Win An Indy Car Race

March 2, 2012 by staff 

Danica Patrick First Woman To Win An Indy Car Race, Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history Sunday, taking the Indy Japan 300 after the top contenders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps.

Patrick finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves on the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval after leader Scott Dixon pitted with five laps left and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan came in a lap later.

“It’s a long time coming. Finally,” Patrick said. “It was a fuel strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me. I knew I was on the same strategy as Helio and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn’t believe it. This is fabulous.”

The 26-year-old Patrick won in her 50th career IndyCar start, taking the lead from Castroneves on 198th lap in the 200-lap race.

Danica Patrick’s historic victory in Japan at the Firestone Indy 300 will re-air on ESPN2 on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

“I think Danica is such a fantastic person and I’m thrilled for her that the monkey is finally off of her back,” said Michael Andretti, co-owner of Andretti Green Racing. “We have all believed in her and she proved today that she is a winner. Frankly, I think this is the first of many.”

Dixon took the lead from Castroneves on the 93rd lap in the race rescheduled for Sunday because of wet track conditions Saturday, but gave up the spot to pit for fuel.

“We led for a lot of laps but came up short,” Dixon said. “But congratulations to Danica for her first victory.”

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